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Auburn, Calif. – Last week the Placer County Resource Conservation District (RCD) completed the spring 2013 removal and monitoring of the invasive plant Red Sesbania in the Dry Creek watershed. Red Sesbania grows on sandbars and along the edges of the creek, where it can quickly clog up the channel. This increases the potential for flooding, outcompetes native plants, and impairs wildlife habitat. The plant is also poisonous to humans, livestock, and wildlife when eaten.

Red Sesbania – sometimes called Rattlebush – is an aggressive non-native that was introduced to the watershed about 20 years ago. It was likely first planted as an ornamental because of its rapid growth, hardiness, and beautiful red flowers. However, it quickly became established throughout the Dry Creek watershed, which stretches from western Placer County to the City of Sacramento where Dry Creek enters Steelhead Creek (also known as the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal or “NEMDC”).

Since 2007, Placer County RCD has led the Placer County removal program in partnership with the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA), Sacramento County, Placer County, and the cities of Sacramento and Roseville. Funding for this year’s treatment was provided by the Water Forum, SAFCA, and Sacramento County’s Department of Water Resources.

Each Red Sesbania plant can produce up to 1,000 seeds per year and each seed can remain in the system for multiple years before germinating. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a long-term monitoring and treatment program. Last week, Placer County RCD facilitated the removal of 61 trash bags of seed pods along with numerous plants from 15 miles of the Dry Creek watershed.

While Red Sesbania is a noxious weed recommended for eradication by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, it unfortunately can still be purchased online and through other sources. Placer County RCD encourages Placer County residents to choose an alternative ornamental, such as Redbud or Crape Myrtle.

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